Rachel Powell, Senior Account Executive on our Animal Health team and pet influencer, gives us the inside scoop on what it really takes to engage an influencer.
Influencer marketing is flourishing. As more people turn to their peers on social media for pet tips and product recommendations, it is becoming increasingly important to harness the power of the pet influencer to build brand loyalty, reach and trust.
So how can you engage a pet influencer to work with your brand in the right way? Here are my top tips…
1. Research, research, research
Identifying your audience and the best channel to reach them on is an essential part of any communications plan – the same applies when finding influencers. Once you have identified your audience and the channels they are most active on, you can find the key influencers that they follow and engage with.
For some influencers, curating content for their profiles is their full time job. So they will value that you have done your homework, researching who they are and if they are the right fit. It really makes a difference to both the longevity of the relationship and the quality of the content they create.
Some brands that I have come across during my time as an influencer have clearly not done their research. One brand asked me to promote a product that really jarred with my content. I immediately felt that I could not work with them, as they had not taken the time to check my feed. There are some unscrupulous influencers that will promote anything and some who even purchase pets just to become ‘Instafamous,’ but that is another blog post altogether.
Word spreads among the infuencer community too. Many of the influencers I have connected with have ended up becoming friends, which is another reason why you should do your research, as most influencers talk to each other and bad experiences travel like wildfire!
The good news is that you do not have to investigate the influencers on your own. Here at Pegasus our specialist influencer team has the latest software tools and analytics to help with this process.
2. Engage early on
Once you have decided who you would like to work with, start following the influencer across their platforms and start engaging with their content. This shows an interest in what they are doing and helps to establish an organic relationship before you even start the conversations around paid activity.
Coming in cold without prior engagement can make them feel undervalued. They want to know that you genuinely care about their content and their potential involvement in your campaign.
An influencer also wants to know what benefit they are going to gain from working with your brand. This can be anything from being gifted a product or having the opportunity to visit somewhere new, to being paid.
Often brands will contact me asking me to promote their product with nothing in return. Firstly, I would not promote a product without seeing it first. And secondly there was no value in this exchange.
I am particularly wary of those who ask me to promote a product using stock images. It wouldn’t fit with the brand identity I have carefully curated, or the style or tone of my feed. And I know this would not resonate with my audience as they will see it as a shameless promotion of a brand and will not take action – I could even lose followers as a result!
3. Keep it real
Influencers have their own brand identity, format and tone for their channels. It’s essential that influencers are able to use their own style and not have too many restrictions on the content they produce as this can stifle creativity, resulting in inauthentic content. Allowing the influencer flexibility and freedom will help maintain a strong relationship from the start.
Of course, there are industry guidelines that the brand or campaign may need to adhere to, and the animal health industry in particular does have its fair share of regulations, as well as influencer marketing as a whole. But making these clear at the beginning will help the influencer understand the guidelines they need to work within.
Influencers feel more confident to work with brands that know their stuff. If they feel they are working with a professional outfit, they will feel more confident in working with you, thus resulting in better content and a better relationship.
If you would like to talk to us about the best ways to approach your influencer marketing, then our Senior Influencer Strategist, Simone Stevens can explain the ways to develop relevant, authentic and successful relationships with influencers. Drop her a note at email@example.com.